Hydrogen streets: a city to create the fuel of the future | Innovation

At the foot of Mount Fuji and in a space of 70 hectares, Toyota has been preparing a living technological laboratory for months where it will develop three major lines of work, possibly the most ambitious of those it is running: hydrogen, autonomous mobility and robotics. Woven City is a perfect three-in-one for the Japanese brand: thanks to this woven (that is, connected) city, the Japanese brand will give way to the grounds of an old factory, will welcome employees, former employees and scientists and, above all, It will test technologies that can hardly squeeze 100% in the real world in a manageable territory. If the plans go ahead despite the coronavirus crisis – and no one has said otherwise until now – the Japanese manufacturer will start building its ideal city in 2021.

The project is based on two pillars, sustainability and artificial intelligence, the first of which is represented by buildings made mainly of wood and crowned by solar panels. A way to generate clean energy and test hydrogen cells, theoretically capable of supplying an entire city and considered by Toyota as the “fuel of the future”. As examples, aside from Woven City, the Mirai saloon – manufactured in series -, the forthcoming construction of a hydrogenerator in Madrid and the Energy Observer ship, which produces hydrogen from seawater.

Artificial intelligence will be put into Woven by autonomous vehicles, robots and the thousands of sensors that will be distributed throughout buildings and streets. The urban roads will be divided into three: the exclusive ones for pedestrians, others in which passers-by and personal mobility vehicles will coexist and, finally, those destined for autonomous cars.

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The urban conglomerate will serve to know the possibilities of various proposals of the Japanese brand that, in turn, condense almost everything that autonomous vehicles can give of themselves. Units of the e-Trans will circulate through Woven City, a self-piloted model for shared mobility; the e-Chargeair, a wheeled battery for cars and phones; the e-Care, a mobility service that at the same time submits a passenger to a medical check-up, and the e-Palette, a kind of container with wheels that can increase in size and be used for different uses: package delivery, mobile store , office and, of course, passenger transport. At the Tokyo Games, delayed to 2021, there will be 20 units that will carry athletes and workers around the Olympic village.

Houses and robots will do the rest, in the words of Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda. “With people, buildings and vehicles connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to know how connected artificial intelligence works. Both in the virtual and physical fields ”. Traffic lights will not be necessary and intelligent robotic systems will assist citizens in their daily tasks and even, says the brand, “monitor” their state of health. The most intangible question of the project appears after the verb to supervise and it is to know, precisely, how the citizens of Woven City will really live and if that will serve as an example for other cities of the future.


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